Taking your kids out to a restaurant can seem like a daunting task – there are so many unknowns and unreliable timelines that at times it can truly feel impossible. When we go out to eat with our kiddos we want to be able to enjoy our time together, enjoy our food, and pay our check before anyone has a meltdown. We decided that we didn’t want to allow technology at the dinner table – and this includes dinners out to eat. The solution we have come up with has proved to be mostly successful, allows our kids to enjoy the dining out experience, allows us to interact with them and with each other – and really promotes family bonding.

We have come up with what we call a “Restaurant Bag” full of little games, puzzles, toys, and appetizers that we use to keep the kids entertained while we wait for our food.

For Toddlers and Young Kids

  • Melissa and Doug 4 in 1 Puzzle Boxed Set – This is our absolute favorite and once helped us survive a 45 minute wait at our favorite restaurant. The boxed set includes four 12 piece puzzles that all fit nicely into a pre-sorted and divided box.
  • Little Dover Activity Books – These activity books are small, light and easy to carry around (aprox. 3 in. x 5 in.). You can choose sticker books, mazes and hidden pictures. There are hundreds of different options each at around $1.50 – we have surly gone through many of them!
  • Lego Mini-Figures & Minion Action Figures – For a kid who loves Lego you can’t go wrong with a couple of Mini-Figures wherever you go.  There are endless adventures and characters each figure can be.  These Minion figures have been great and provide lots of laughs as well.  They’re cheap and as long you keep these little guys out of the baby’s mouth you’re set!

For Babies

  • Puppet Board Books – We always have to have books with us – these small board books also double as finger puppets to keep babies and toddlers happy while they wait for their food.
  • Baby Eisenstein Take Along Tunes – With shining lights and classic songs (and a volume control – so that people sitting close by won’t be annoyed) this is the toy we break out when we really need a distraction to keep baby happy.
  • WabbaNub Pacifier Stuffed Animal – Another two in one combo – pacifier + stuffed animal. The stuffed animal helps prevent the dreaded lost pacifier – because nothing is worse than a pacifier rolling to the abyss underneath restaurant tables.
  • Baby Mum-Mum Crackers – These things are life savers! Dissolveable crackers that are made withe just the right ingredients for a baby new to food – the good news handing your baby one of these will hopefully buy you at least 5 minutes.

This is fatherhood…